Bill Bunge’s Nuclear War Atlas (poster) UPDATED

Update: Aug 9, 2018. The American Geographical Society Library (AGSL) in Milwaukee have now scanned the map in high-resolution (both front and back). Many thanks to AGSL and Susan Peschel for making it happen! Link is here.


Bill Bunge, 2008 AAG (Boston). Source.

Bill Bunge’s Nuclear War Atlas was published in two formats, a book from Basil Blackwell published in 1988, and a poster published in June 1982, with 28 maps on one side, and extensive text on the other,

just one week too late for the great United Nations demonstration in New York City. The first edition of the atlas was designed for field use among the unemployed of Detroit’s black slum ghetto (who hold my loyalty but who were vulnerable to the false slogan ‘war means work’ when today it clearly means death), but my work proved far too technical. So I surrendered to the fact that the market for the atlas, the potential readership, would be intellectuals, and put in the earlier and continuing abstract work mentioned, especially in chapter 2.

The original edition was in the tradition of Lobeck’s Physiographic Diagram of North America, with 20,000 words of text on one side and 28 maps on the other, suitable for poster display upon completion of reading it. The 20 in. X 34 in. poster folded into a 5 in. X 8 in. size designed for peace demonstrations, where it was abundantly sold. Selling the atlas was an excuse to talk peace during the summers of 1982 and 1983, talking to thousands of people door-to-door, often at great length, especially in Toronto, retaught me Detroit’s lesson that people needed, as as a dire warning, hope and a more articulated plan for saving the children. This vastly changed the tone of the atlas, especially the ending and, with the abstract work, doubled its size.

Bunge, Nuclear War Atlas (Blackwell) 1988, pp. xxi–xxii.

The poster atlas is now very hard to obtain. I got my copy I got in the 1990s in grad school, and unfortunately it does not appear in full form online, to the best of my knowledge. Ideally it would be scanned and uploaded, but in the meantime here is my best attempt to capture it in a photograph (4032 X 3024, cropped slightly). Hopefully, it will encourage a proper high-resolution scan. Click for full-res version.





PS: this account of radical geography’s early days, with details about Bunge and others, by Clark Akatiff, is important reading (and provided the source of the 2008 photo of Bunge, above). I can say that as an attendee of the 2008 Boston meeting I remember rumors that Bunge was present, and copies of this flyer were posted around the conference:

Bunge AAG meeting_Page_1


One response to “Bill Bunge’s Nuclear War Atlas (poster) UPDATED

  1. Reblogged this on Progressive Geographies and commented:
    Jeremy Crampton shares Bill Bunge’s Nuclear War Atlas poster – an appeals for someone/a library to make a higher-resolution scan.

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